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Bathroom Renovations: The (Number 1) Ultimate Guide

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It's been said more than once that the heart of a modern house renovation is the bathroom. Just about everyone loves a long, hot winter bath; a bathroom remodelling is one of the easiest ways to add value to your home; and it's the perfect opportunity to make that space burst with your style, add the features you've only dreamed of, and make your house more functional, modern, energy efficient and beautiful than ever before.

But as those who have done a complete bathroom renovation know all too well, it's not the work of a moment. And it not only takes time, it costs a significant and good amount of money and there are so many hidden avenues and dark allies that you are sure to find at just the wrong moment throughout the planning and execution stages.

In fact, when people start to think about their bathroom renovations ideas today, the thing they often focus on is how it will look in the end. But that long, winter bath in a modern, beautiful bathroom that just bursts with your personal style is actually just the prize at the end of a long process.

Before you get there, you need to think about:

  • The time and labour that will be spent

  • The budget

  • Careful planning for contingencies - because not everything always goes smoothly!

  • The execution

So to help you along that long and winding road to the perfect bathroom, we are proud to present you with this absolutely comprehensive guide to bathroom remodelling - with plenty of insights, ideas, tips and tricks along the way.

Bathroom Overhaul: What To Expect

First, it's important to acknowledge that 'renovation' really is a catch-all phrase that isn't overly helpful when it comes to planning your new bathroom. In fact, there are several separate stages to consider as entities of their own.

Your Old Bathroom

The first hurdle is putting your old bathroom into the annals of history - finally! Walls may need to be torn down, pipes may need to be removed and replaced, and tradesman may be required for the ripping off of tired old tiles and the installation of fresh, new ones.


When you're seeking your bathroom remodelling contractors or bathroom renovation company, focus on experience, qualifications and recommendations rather than price alone.


But even before we start ripping at those tired old walls, a meticulous plan is necessary for your property. That's because even a 20-year-old bathroom could have even the most experienced and skilful tradesman struggling with those old tiles. The simple task of 'Removing those tiles' could hit a screeching halt in the form of glue that just won't come unstuck.

And that's not all you need to know about tiles. For example, while you may be an expert at putting tiles down on your terrace, the tiling in your bathroom is done vastly differently - and the tiles themselves are bathroom-specific. So don't get caught out after you've been through the checkout!

As for laying those tiles down, you'll need a clean and dry surface, but you'll also need to know the difference between floor and wall tiles. They key, of course, is homework and research.


When it comes to that all-important plumbing, it really is crucial that it is done expertly well by a quality team.

It goes without saying that, without the right skills - normally guaranteed by years of experience in bathroom renovations Brisbane clients and beyond really love - your bathroom could come almost literally apart at the seams due to poor plumbing as with in the kitchen. Things you might easily forget about, like checking for leaks and correct water pressure, can become an awfully big problem once the rest of the renovation is done on top.

Plan For Mistakes

Because small bathroom renovations Perth clients sink their teeth into every day hide a world of complexity, you need to be ready for something to go wrong. Like an Ironman Triathlon, it's impossible to get from the starter's gun to the finish line with everything running like clockwork. So if it's possible for you to remain in your home throughout the remodelling process, so you can always keep an eye on what's going on and leap on those little glitches as they arise, you'll stay in control, prevent issues from spiralling out of control, and keep a lid on the complete bathroom renovations cost.


When you're doing some initial research and ringing around, ask if contractors will give you a free bathroom renovation quote. Including using an under sink wastewater lifting station if there isn't enough fall in the pipes. If you're surfing the web, are there websites services or another service that offers a bathroom renovation cost estimator?

But that doesn't mean you should interfere. Take the philosophy that if you pick them well, tradies or a  building professional business are great at what they do. And a great place to turn to for bathroom design advice.

How to make a bathroom renovation plan ... that works!

When you sit down to draw up that bathroom remodelling or renovating plan, two main headings will be helpful:

  • Space, and

  • Completing your bathroom renovation on a budget!

You may be tempted to add a third heading - time - but it's actually better to plan for the renovation to take as long as it takes in order to meet all of your objectives whilst staying on budget. Long renovations may be inconvenient and frustrating, but a finished product you are proud of, that really works, and that ticks every box you set out to tick is worth waiting for.


It sounds simple, but you need to clearly define the space you have available to work within. On the outside borders are your doors and windows, so you need to think about how they function, open and close, as this could significantly impact how the rest of the space is used for your design.

Your bathroom's plans for plumbing and electrics will also have an impact on how the space is used, as all of those bathtabs, cabinets and other fittings will work around them and need to use the space comfortably and functionally.

And there's another reason why 'space' is the first heading on your plan: because it helps you to be realistic about those choice of fittings. What you choose needs to work within the space, because trying to adapt a space for your dream (but much too enormous bathtub, for example) is a very bad idea!

Of course, there's nothing stopping you moving those fixtures around your bathroom - you might want the shower on the other side or the bathroom oriented differently, for example. But also bear in mind that doing so will almost certainly mean significant plumbing changes as well, so factor in the time, cost and labour of doing so. If this is what you want to do, however, it's the initial stage of planning in which you'll want to make these kinds of major decisions.


How long is a piece of string? A similar question is 'How much does a bathroom renovation cost?'

The sky is always a lovely limit, but in the real world, you will be looking at about $13,000 to about double that amount for your bathroom renovation.

On the upper end of that scale, you'll be looking at roughly:

  • $3300 for bathtub

  • $8000 for cabinets

  • $4000 for flooring

  • $2000 for lighting

  • $5400 for shower

  • $2700 for sink

  • $540 for toilet

But this is just a rough guide: the depth of your pockets and the scale of your renovation will be the actual determining factors. Bathroom renovations Melbourne householders take on could be done on the cheap, but if you're starting from scratch, bear in mind that all of the above bullet-points will need to be addressed.

However, as the annoying ads always say: 'Wait, there's more!'

The word bathroom itself is simple, but a top-to-bottom bathroom remodelling is anything but. It's not just the tiles and pluming you need to think about, but:

  • Bath and shower: When it comes to the fittings, this is where you need to start. That's because it's the centrepiece of the bathroom that will catch the most attention and use up the most space. After working out the required space and the kind of fixture, the rest of the bathroom is designed around it.

  • Toilet: In a close second place for the most important fixture is the toilet. Again, it uses a considerable amount of space and the plumbing needs to be in the right place.

  • Sink: Another important piece of the bathroom jigsaw puzzle, the sink is often downplayed as being purely functional, but most eyes are drawn almost immediately to the style of the sink. Bathroom renovations Gold Coast householders do typically prioritise the look and the function of the all-important basin.

  • Cupboard: Storage is an overlooked but incredibly important component to any bathroom, and getting it right can really liven up your remodelling project. How central it is to your dream bathroom, however, is up to you, as they come in all shapes, sizes and styles, so they can be a centrepiece or something more seamless.

  • Other storage: You don't want to pack everything away - because some people like the look and convenience of neatly stacked fresh towels, or bathroom items and even decorations presented on a shelf.

  • Mirror: A great bathroom is not great without a great mirror, so look beyond mere function and pick something that complements the beauty of the overall design.

  • Lighting: It's not just the size, shape and appearance of the fittings that need to be taken into consideration - we're also talking about the optimum lighting intensity for your particular bathroom. A small tweak in bulb luminosity, colour and temperature, and how it all interacts with your colour scheme and tiles, can have a big impact on the 'feel' of your bathroom.

  • Mats: No, it's not just an afterthought - bathroom mats are an important safety addition to your bathroom, but getting the choice dead wrong can spoil what is otherwise a perfectly devised space and design.

  • Curtain: It may seem unimportant, but stopping water splashing onto the floor creating a hazard - and those embarrassing moments if someone else walks into the bathroom while you're in the shower or tub - is simple with a curtain.

  • Rubbish bin: It's the finishing touches that often set a great renovation alight, so little details like a bin can make all the difference. And they're convenient, too!

  • Towels: Towels and towel rods and racks, however, really are important - because they're an absolute practical necessity, and they need to be accessible and prominent.

  • Toothbrush holder: While a bathroom renovation can be hard work and stressful, the little details are so much fun to shop for - but they can also make or break the overall look of the finished product. For the toothbrush holder, it should complement the nearby and associated sink and mirror.

But for everything on that bathroom renovation checklist and more, make sure your overall bathroom renovation 'big picture' is always at the front of your mind. Because 'beautiful' isn't something you buy off the shelf: it's the product of many parts that are meticulously and lovingly planned and put together, culminating in bathroom renovations Sunshine Coast dwellers will enjoy for years.

Bathroom Renovation Design Ideas

Until now, this Big Guide to bathroom remodelling has been mainly the nitty-gritty of getting those fundamentals right. But a renovation is something you can really sink your teeth into in terms of letting your creative juices flow.

As we teased earlier: imagine what you could achieve if the sky was the limit when it came to your bathroom renovation DIY budget. But there are two things that are not limited by the depth of your pockets:

  • Space, and

  • Natural light.


If your space is limited, that will have a big impact on your design - but it doesn't have to fetter your imagination. It may simply be necessary to proportionally scale down the fixtures and features you are dreaming of - because there's no point having all of those fixtures meeting your wildest dreams if you can barely turn around in your new bathroom.

So if you have limited space, let's take a moment to explore some of the best ways to achieve your bathroom renovation dreams anyway. Because people who remodel small bathroom spaces don't really need to skimp in any area:

  • Have a centrepiece: If nothing in particular stands out, the thing that stands out could be the obvious fact that 'This bathroom is small!' But if you have a standout centrepiece, like a tub or a basin or a feature storage item, that is where the eye will be drawn

  • Smarter bathrooms placement: Secondly, clever use of limited spaces can have the overall effect of a larger space. For instance, the maximised usage of the corners of the room, or the use of extra shelving that appears chic but is actually very handy for storage. Bathroom renovations Sydney DIY'ers tackle don't have to go without just because there is limited space.

  • Colour: Making the room brighter, and using lighter colours for the paint and tiles, can create the impression of extra space. The kind of colour options selected for bathroom renovations Adelaide locals love will commonly make the most of the light and the bright.

  • No clutter: In a small bathroom remodel, it makes little sense to prominently store lots of extra towels, or have big medicine cabinets. Is it possible to keep those things elsewhere?

Natural Light

If you are lucky enough to have a bathroom with lots of natural light, for example thanks to a big window opening, then there are lots of things you can do to make the most of it. Similarly, while you're in the design phase of your bathroom makeovers, is it possible to think about adding a skylight? It will not only brighten and broaden that space, it makes use of that free and sustainable source of power - the sun.

If Your Bathroom Space Has Lots Of Natural Light:

  • Make the most of nature: If your big window opening looks out onto lots of greenery, incorporate that natural theme into your bathroom - bring the outside world into your stunning new bathroom. We're talking things like nature and floral designs and bright, natural colours. 
  • Make the most of the city: On the other hand, if your window looks out into the suburbs or the city, match that theme as well with simplistic, minimalist and ultra-modern interior designs. Again, maximise that natural light with matching light colours.  

If Your Bathroom Space Is Natural Light-Limited:

  • Add elegance: If natural light is lacking in your space, don't despair - you can compensate with elegant designs and details, and luxurious colour. For instance, embrace the lack of natural light and opt for black or dark blues.

  • Hot tip!: If you're not sure how a dark colour scheme will work, ask yourself 'Are there any budget bathroom renovations near me I can check out?' Have friends or family recently done a reno that you can assess and learn from?

  • Put your focus elsewhere: While natural light can be great, a lack of it can also be taken as an opportunity. Consider the space as a closed environment instead, and focus on making the design work as an enclosed entity.

Whether you have a lot of natural light to play with or you're forced to focus more within a closed environment, the most important thing is that all the elements of your brilliant new bathroom all work together as a unit.

How To Create The Perfect Bathroom Layout

Of course, the ultimate aim of your bathroom renovation is a perfect, beautiful and colour-bursting finished product. But don't lose sight on what the bathroom actually exists for - its function. As we said earlier, there's actually no point having all your dream fittings and accessories in place if you can't even stretch out your arms to comfortably wrap a towel around yourself.

The great thing about a bathroom renovation from scratch, however, is that you have the opportunity to tailor your space. For instance, if you're going to tear out every last tile and every last fitting, you might as well tear down a wall as well!

So if you are prepared and are able to tear out every last tile and even a wall, the various components of your dream bathroom can be tweaked and tailored so that your layout achieves even the goals you never thought were imaginable.

Here's How:

1. Shower

As we said earlier, the bathtub and/or the shower are undoubtedly the biggest elements of your bathroom. So the placement and orientation of these components can really make a big difference, setting a nice bathroom apart from those award winning bathrooms! If you are short of height for the waste water, you can put in a sewer pump and pit.

Placing your tub at the very end of the room, particularly if your bathroom shape is elongated, will have the effect of merely changing the shape of the space. For more square-shaped spaces, placement along the left or right wall is the wisest choice.

2. Bath

Another thing to consider is forgoing the bath altogether - particularly if you have limited space. You must, of course, have a shower, but even this shouldn't take up more than a third of the overall floor space of your bathroom.

3. Toilet

For a limited space, the toilet is a great opportunity to do a bit of a hiding trick. Unlike a majestic bathtub or a super-modern basin, a toilet is of course functional but it's rarely a bathroom centrepiece. So this could be an opportunity to tuck the toilet behind a door, where it's barely noticed. Or squeezing that toilet between the vanity and the bathtub is another option, although it's important not to create a cluttered look. You can also use a water tank and pump with a water switch to use rainwater to flush the toilets to save water.

4. Vanity

By vanity, we're talking about the sink, cupboard and mirror. Often, it's one of the very first things you spot when you walk into an unfamiliar bathroom, so a central and symmetrical location is ideal. Because it is so conspicuously, it's also worth prioritising the vanity in your budget: because if you cut a cash corner with a centrepiece, you can cheapen the entire look of your dream bathroom.


Match the size of your vanity to your bathroom mirror. You can email or phone a designer that has lots of online testimonials for the latest lifestyle ideas.

On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to have a big bathroom space to play with, you can consider two separate sinks. It can add luxury but also greatly increased functionality to a household - particularly a growing one!

5. Towel Hangers

Sometimes, it's the minor details that make a major difference - and not just for purely aesthetic reasons. A bathroom renovation is the perfect chance to rid yourself of all the frustrations of your old layout - like having to walk 5 steps across the room from the shower or the bath to grab a towel from the rack. When it comes to that bathroom renovation before and after, you really want to ensure the 'after' is much more convenient than the 'before'!

In all of these ways, it is easy to see how important a thoughtful and well devised layout is to the overall functionality and look of your renovated bathroom project.

How To Choose The Perfect Bathroom Tiles

Although the bathtub or shower remodel are arguably the centrepiece of any bathroom renovation, it's impossible to overstate the importance of the tiles. Like the solid foundation of a building, the tiles are the very basis of the entire overall concept of your dream bathroom, so taking the time to get it right is much more than time worth spent.

First, you'll need to consider the different types of tiles:

  • Ceramic: When most people think 'bathroom tiles', they're usually referring to ceramic tiles. Mainly the most popular due to their price, ceramic tiles are also easy to clean and maintain.

But there are more luxurious options on the market.

  • Stone: Stone tiles are a great option for a natural but also super-modern look, but beware: they are much harder than ceramic tiles to maintain.

  • Glass: Easier to maintain than stone, the downside to glass tiles is the higher price tag. But if your budget allows it, glass tiles are a great way to get that clean, spick and shiny look, but they're also slippery so think twice about using them on the floor.

  • Porcelain: If your pockets are even deeper, take a second look at the high-end, luxurious porcelain tile option.

Once you've made your selection when it comes to the type, you're ready to start thinking about the colours of your tiles and how exactly to use them for your bathroom renovation.

Here Are The Things To Consider - And Some Key Tips:

1. Colour

As discussed earlier in this guide, the emphasis you place on the lightness or darkness of your tiles for your bathroom renovations Canberra DIY'ers revel in can depend not only on personal preference, but also the availability of space and natural light.


For those bathroom remodel ideas, consider spending a weekend afternoon attending some open inspections or display homes. Or check online for a bathroom remodel photo gallery or two, because one or two bathroom remodel pictures are worth a thousand words!

2. Tiles ... Everywhere!

Some people are tempted to use the same tiles for both the floor and the walls, but we'd strongly advise against it. Break up your interior design with clever and subtle tile differences. In fact, we'd even recommend you not tiling the entire bathroom - consider simply leaving those walls 'naked'.


If you do want to use the same tiles for the floor and the walls, consider incorporating your floor tile pick into a single, central strip on the wall.

3. Be Creative

Tiling the whole bathroom from top to toe is amazingly common, but remarkably uncreative. So instead of tiling the walls completely, just tile up to a certain height and simply paint the rest. You can also use different designs for the floor, wall and shower stall.

4. Be Prepared

At all costs, avoid heading to the tiling shop without having a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and how you plan to go about it. You don't have to have a tiling plan that is 100% clear, but staring at hundreds of different options without having even decided which parts of the bathroom will be tiled just leaves you susceptible to becoming overwhelmed and making a fundamental mistake.


Remember, those tiles will be the basis of the rest of the bathroom, but don't get caught out with the perfect tile selections only to realise later that they badly clash with your all-important fixtures and accessories.

The Big Guide: Congrats, you've reached the end!

We hope we've managed to convince you just how important bathroom remodelling really is. It's a hub of the house, a luxurious haven, an all-important functional room and also a long-term financial investment, so grasping it with both hands and getting that overhaul right from the outset is something bathroom renovators can't afford to fudge.

So steel yourself for the process, dot those i's, cross those t's and get those creative juices flowing, because you're now ready to tackle that bathroom renovation with pride, style and vigour! And when you're done, pour yourself a glass of champagne for that maiden hot bath, knowing your dream bathroom was really worth the effort.

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